It is not certain that West Los Angeles College will have a baseball team next season, but sources within the sport continue to believe progress is being made.
But time is growing short. Because this is a crucial time for recruiting, the school must hire a coach shortly if it intends to field a competitive team for the 2008 season.
‘‘It isn’t positively essential for West LA to have a coach by the start of July, but every day from now on is important,’’ said a source, ‘‘Players graduating from high school are firming up their decisions on where they’re going.’’
Since word circulated in baseball circles two weeks ago that West LA intended to field a baseball team for the first time in 21 years, the following has been learned:
–This is not an idle rumor. West LA College President Dr. Mark Rocha appears to embrace the idea. With his leadership, hurdles could be cleared
–One hurdle is the necessity to renovate the field. The same one used in the 1980s is available but in need of major repairs. This problem, while requiring funds, seems manageable.
–Prospective coaching candidates agree that an academic counselor is required to monitor the baseball program. ‘‘Without that it could be a renegade program,’’ said one. In community colleges, a freshman admitted to the school doesn’t have to demonstrate progress to be eligible for a year. A player who doesn’t attend classes could play an entire season before becoming ineligible for a second one. Coaching candidates don’t want players who’ll take advantage of that rule, play one season and leave. Again, West LA appears to realize the need and will comply.
–The baseball coaching position will likely be part-time, as are others at the school. Since it won’t be a full-time position the most prominent local high school coaches are probably eliminated. This is unfortunate but leaves a pool that includes assistants at other schools who want to be a head coach. There should be numerous well-qualified candidates.
There hasn’t been community college baseball on the Westside since West LA dropped the sport in the mid-’80s and Santa Monica College followed about 10 years later. Local high school stars have traveled to play community college baseball elsewhere since then, but several are reportedly excited about the possibility of now being able to play close to home.
Kevin Brockway, the coach of Santa Monica High’s senior-dominated team that reached the Division 4 championship game this season, said he believes several of his players would be interested in a team at West LA College. SMC has no plans to bring back baseball. The campus field no longer exists. A library was built there.